Retail Marketing FlashTrends – December 2015
Let’s deck the malls!
Last week, the Medallion Retail team was out and about, visiting retail stores to discover the latest in in-store design. We make this journey every month or so with an eye towards identifying what we call FlashTrends – what’s happening right now in signage, display and shopper experience.
Of course, what’s happening right now is holiday.
The stores were all dressed up for the season, enticing shoppers with displays that provoked emotion and invited engagement. Four of us made this FlashTrends trek; we visited 47 stores and took 912 photos. And I ate two gingerbread men. Maybe three. No more than five.
But FlashTrends are not about quantity. They’re the results of an examination of how retail marketers are taking the concept of visual shopper experience to an immediate and tactile place. This month, retailers are facing aggressive competition, a digitally empowered shopper and a Black Friday that is casting a very different shadow. It’s a critical and intense time; being jolly is hard work.
So just what are retailers doing visually in-store to capture holiday consumer attention and sales?
Fooling the eye
Retailers are telling stories, and they are creating stunning trompe l’oeil sets upon which to place them. “Trick the eye” painting techniques are being used to create scenes with depth and scope. Mind-bending “environments” play with perception, perspective and space, resulting in visual illusions the shopper can get lost in.
Beyond trompe l’oeil, retail designers are utilizing real-world dimension. Props, product, mannequins, messaging – all are being layered to create 3D retail worlds that encourage shoppers to lean in. Stylistic meets realistic in many instances to great whimsical effect. Corrugated and found-object sculpture – art pieces in their own right – deliver moments of discovery and delight. There is depth to the visual language, both literal and figurative.
Playing with words
Last month we saw the use of words as design elements; the trend was typography as art. Now, the copy not only looks great, but really says something as well. Still integral to the visual design, carefully chosen words are enhancing and furthering the stories being told. The result is clever word play and provocative statement making.
Blending the traditional and the current
The old-fashioned and the new-fangled are on display in equal balance. Brand personality is driving design direction. Red and green or rich jewel tones? Classic strings of lights or animated projections? Pop art or Rockwellian imagery? Shiny? Weathered? Handcrafted? Sleek? Retailers are making very specific choices to best communicate who they are and how they fit into shoppers’ lives
Bonus trend: Awakening the Force
More a ubiquitous promotion than a design trend, Star Wars dominates the retail landscape and must be mentioned. Movie tie-ins, some great, others a bit desperate, abound. You can’t swing a shopping bag without hitting a Wookiee.